One year ago, Vyacheslav Gordeev, People's Artist of the USSR, when asked by a wek.ru reporter about how his Russian Ballet Theater was surviving the COVID-19 epidemic, said: "Just like the rest of cultural Russia. We got used to this age of change. We hope for the best. Our main concern is not to lose our audience.”
The Russian Ballet Theater is celebrating its 40th anniversary this March. One of the company's greatest achievements is that it has not only kept its audience but even increased its number.
How did it happen? From the first days of the pandemic, free views of almost all repertory performances and videos of ballet productions were organized on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. It is no coincidence that at the end of last year the Russian Ballet Theater received the status of a Russian academic theater.
The on-stage performance group was assembled in 1981. In the very beginning, it was a small classical dance group. It was founded by the famous ballerina Irina Tikhomirnova. At first, rehearsals took place in the Moscow Regional Philharmonic Society. The troupe of 16 dancers defined its task as the popularization of classic choreography art in the Moscow region. Already in 1984, Irina Tikhomirnova entrusted the destiny of her brainchild to Vyacheslav Gordeev, a brilliant dancer and no less talented organizer and the principal dancer of the Bolshoi Theatre.
Thanks to his efforts the artistic horizons of the troupe were immeasurably widened. Gordeev brought it to the world level of professional excellence. Hard work on expanding its repertoire and creating "brand identity" soon yielded results. Touring life became very intensive. Performances in cities across the Soviet Union and abroad earned the theater ardent love of the audience. People in France, India, Portugal, Nepal, Mexico, and the United States soon applauded the theater.
Young talented choreographers who later became ballet masters such as Valentin Elizariev, Boris Eifman, Mikhail Lavrovsky, and Nela Nazirova were invited to collaborate with the theatre. At Gordeyev's invitation, popular dancers Mahmud Esambayev, Nina Timofeyeva, Raquel Rosetti, Yekaterina Maximova, Galina Shlyapina, Vera Kirova, and Nadezhda Pavlova worked for the theatre.
In 1987, the theatre became state-owned. In 1987, it became a state theatre, and when the repertoire included such masterpieces as Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty, and Adolph Adam's Giselle, the performance group branded itself Russian Ballet in accordance with its aims and ambitions.
Under the guidance of Vyacheslav Gordeev, its artistic director, an outstanding dancer of international renown, and People's Artist of the USSR, the fledgling performance group has formed into a highly professional ballet troupe with its own unique performing style. Today's productions of the theater are vivid evidence of the careful preservation of classical choreography. Vyacheslav Gordeev's works are original productions with impeccable taste, from choreographic miniatures to productions of various genres and styles. They have also brought considerable recognition to the Russian Ballet.
At present, there are over 90 ballet dancers working in the theater improving their skills on a daily basis. There are distinguished artists and winners of international competitions, Grand Prix, and professional awards among them. The performing staff of the theater is annually replenished with young talents, graduates of the best choreographic schools in Russia.
Pushkin's line "Shall see emotional flight?" without any exaggeration has long been a symbol and motto of the Russian Ballet Theatre. The rich heritage accumulated by the great predecessors of the Russian ballet scene and the artists of the theater pass it on to all of us with tremendous dedication. For that, the Russian Ballet gets our “Bravo!”